Compliance Matters TM
California’s Regional Stay At Home Order Explained
(Covid-19 Update)
On December 3rd, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health implemented the Regional Stay At Home Order (the “Order”), California’s latest response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the Order Applies. The Order divides California into five (5) different regions and only applies to a region twenty-four (24) hours after it drops below 15% ICU bed capacity. The regions are as follows:

  • Northern California – Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity.

  • Bay Area – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma.

  • Greater Sacramento – Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba.

  • San Joaquin Valley – Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Tuolumne.

  • Southern California – Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.

Length of Order. Once a region drops below 15% ICU bed capacity, the Order applies to that region for a minimum of three (3) weeks. The Order continues until the CDPH’s four-week projections of ICU bed capacity for the region is greater than or equal to 15%. The CDPH will make these projections approximately twice per week.

Once A Region is Removed from the Terms of the Order. Once the Order no longer applies to a region because it’s ICU bed capacity projection has improved to at least 15%, each county within the region will be assigned a tier based on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and the rules of the Blueprint will apply again. Individual counties within the region will be subject to different restrictions depending on the tier they fall into.

General Prohibitions. All gatherings with members of different households are prohibited. Persons may not leave their house to engage in physical interaction with members of other households except as necessary to engage in permitted activities. 

Permitted Sectors. The following sectors and activities are allowed to remain open with safety precautions:

Critical Infrastructure. Critical infrastructure may remain open when remote work is not possible. The California Public Health Officer published a guidance describing what sectors are included within “critical infrastructure.” The sectors consist of:

  • Health/Public Services

  • Emergency Services

  • Food and Agriculture

  • Energy

  • Water and Wastewater

  • Transportation and Logistics

  • Communications and Information Technology

  • Government Operations and Other Community-Based Essential Functions

  • Critical Manufacturing

  • Financial Services

  • Chemical and Hazardous Materials

  • Defense Industrial Base

  • Industrial, Commercial, Residential, and Sheltering Facilities and Services

While many businesses already went through the process of identifying whether they constitute “critical infrastructure” back in March, California has since modified its definition of “critical infrastructure” and thus it is strongly recommended that businesses examine the guidance and engage in this process again. Any business that remains open as critical infrastructure must continue to comply with the applicable industry guidance.

Schools, Childcare, and Pre-K. The Order does not modify existing state guidance regarding K-12 schools and thus schools that are currently open can continue to operate.

Non-urgent medical and dental care.

Sectors Permitted to Operate with Modifications. The following sectors and activities are permitted to remain open subject to specific conditions, including 100% masking and physical distancing:

Places of Worship and Political Expression. Only outdoor activities are permitted.

Outdoor Recreational Facilities. Permitted to operate only for the purpose of facilitating physically distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise. Such facilities are prohibited from selling any food, drink, or alcohol and overnight stays on campgrounds are prohibited as well.

Retail. Indoor operation is allowed at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in stores. The sale of food, beverage, and alcohol for in-store consumption is prohibited. Special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems. Retailers must continue to follow the guidance for retailers.

Shopping Centers. Indoor access is permitted at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.

Hotels and Lodging. Hotels and lodging can only offer accommodations for COVID-19 mitigation and containment measures, treatment measures, accommodation for essential workers, or providing housing solutions, including measures to protect homeless populations. They cannot accept or honor out-of-state reservations for non-essential travel, unless the reservation is for at least the minimum time period required for quarantine and persons identified in the reservation will quarantine in the hotel or lodging entity until after the quarantine period has ended.

Restaurants. May only open for take-out and/or delivery.

Offices. May only operate remotely except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote work is not possible. Support personnel such as IT, payroll, security, etc. may enter the office to the extent the business qualifies as critical infrastructure and if remote work is not possible.

Entertainment Production. Industries, studios, and other related establishments such as establishments that provide content for professional broadcast can operate without live audiences.

Specifically Prohibited Sectors & Activities. All of the following must be closed except to the extent that their operations fall within critical infrastructure:

  • Indoor and outdoor playgrounds

  • Hair salons and barbershops

  • Personal care services

  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums

  • Movie theaters (except drive-in)

  • Wineries, bars, breweries, and distilleries

  • Family entertainment centers

  • Cardrooms and satellite wagering

  • Limited services

  • Live audience sports
Consequences for Violation. Failure to comply with the Order is punishable by fine and as a misdemeanor, revocation of business license, or court-imposed penalties.
We will continue to monitor major COVID-19 related developments that impact the workplace. If you have any questions about the matters discussed in this issue of Compliance Matters, please call your firm contact at 818-508-3700 or visit us online at

Richard S. Rosenberg
Katherine A. Hren
Charles H.W. Foster
Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt, LLP 

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